Chapter 86: Breakout
In WhichÂ Gates are Opened.
Catamount: The ferret hurries down into the street and takes her pack from Soquan. â€œHurry, we need to break the camps open.â€
She looks at Zander. â€œThese people need a leader,â€ and then stares at him pointedly. Zander grins somewhat sheepishly. â€œWe’ll meet you all at the gates.â€
Arrin: He grins slightly at Jozra’s comment and gently grasps her arm before she darts off again. He takes out her dagger from within his cloak and offers it to her. â€œI believe this is yours.â€
Chris: Holst’s eyes harden as he slips the proper key into the lock and swings his cell door free. He steps to the middle of the hall facing a large-framed hare.
Holst speaks. â€œYou sure you don’t want to call some of your buddies to save you this time?â€
The hare merely growls.
Catamount: The ferret takes the small knife back with the slightest of smiles and in another motion has concealed it somewhere on her person. â€œThanks. Hurry, they won’t stay distracted long.â€ She leads the way against the press of people towards the camps.
Chris: The hare lunges, a meaty fist tracking Holst’s jaw. Holst ducks and rushes in, landing a heavy punch to the hare’s gut. The hare stumbles and Holst takes advantage of the hare’s loss of balance to grab his arm and slam him viciously into the wall headfirst.
While the hare is still stunned, Holst lands a savage blow to the hare’s own jaw line.Â Holst takes a step back and waits for the hare to rise. The hare glares as he unsteadily gets up on his foot paws. Holst can’t help but smirk.
Arrin:Â Soquan grasps her arm again. â€œWait I…â€ He pauses and pulls out the folded piece of parchment he had been working on earlier. â€œI want you to read this when things have calmed down and we’re safe.â€
Catamount: The ferret looks at the otter quizzically, and then nods. She takes the piece of parchment and tucks it into her pack. â€œReady?â€
Arrin: He gives her a smile and nods, hefting his staff. â€œLet’s go get our friend back, and kick some tail end while doing it!â€
Chris: Holst rushes this time. Too early, he winces as the hareâ€™s meaty fist digs deep into his side. His body crashes against a cell door, the hares other fist finding Holstâ€™s temple.Â Through the starbursts, Holst sees his opportunity.
He ducks through the hareâ€™s arms and out of his reach. As the hare turns to face him, Holst manages to land a kick square to the hare’s jaw. The hare falls back reeling from the blow.
Holst waits a moment as he lets a part of his soul go. â€œForgive me…â€ He lands a powerful strike to the hareâ€™s throat, collapsing the cartilage and sealing off his airway.Â T
The hare chokes and gurgles as his eyes betray astonishment, confusion, but above all: fear.Â Holst turns his back, walking out into the flood of sunshine in the yard.
Catamount: The ferret leads the way through the quickly filling streets, Zander’s shouts to organize the people receding behind her. Along the way she shouts to the confused populace. â€œTake only what you need! Food! Water! We’re all leaving and we’re leaving NOW.â€
Arrin: Weaving through the streets of absolute chaos with the ferret at his side, he turns to speak to her while dodging around a burly looking squirrel. â€œHey, you’ve been scouring around this place more than I have, where’s out first stop?â€
Catamount: Jozra points up ahead, narrowly avoiding poking a nervous young otter that happens to be rushing by in the eye. â€œWe’re getting our friends out of that place.â€
Just clearing the remaining roofs in the slums are the first of the walls and fences surrounding the ‘work camp’ compound.
Arrin:Â Rushing towards the gate of the compound, he can spot the massive swarm of beasts inside. Inspecting the chained and padlocked doors, he calls back to his companion as he wedges his staff into the loop of the padlock. â€œI’ll need your help getting this open Joz!â€
Chris: Holst looks out over the sea of beasts, their gradient increasing towards the gate.Â Hares were left behind bloodied and bruised, some were dead. The stronger ones were still holding their ground â€¦somehow.
Catamount: The ferret nods at Soquan, looking back towards the gate and away from the fence. The entire structure did seem practically impassible, with the gate as the only portal in or out. â€œWhat do you need me to do, Soq?â€
She has to shout this, as the noise from the crowd behind them and the noise from the crowd in front of them was nearly deafening.
Arrin: Soquan grasps the end of his staff tightly and shouts back at her. â€œGrab on and on three, we’re gonna push, okay?â€
He braces himself. â€œOne, two, three!â€
Chris: Holst trots down into the crowd, former adversaries merely giving him a glance as they focus on the gate. Holst stops at the body of a dead hare, stooping to pluck something from the front of his uniform.
Catamount: The ferret grabs and pushes on Soquan’s count. For a fraction of a second, nothing happens, but as the two put more pressure on the lock it suddenly snaps open.
Arrin: Soquan untangles his staff from the mess of lock and chain quickly, before unweaving the chain from the door and swinging it open for the prisoners.
Chris: Holst watches as the crowd begins to flow forward revealing bodies of guards, and here or there a prisoner that had had it coming to them. He pushed along with all of the other beasts, anxious to be on the other side of the gate.
Catamount: Jozra tries to start forward but realizes that will be impossible with the amount of beasts trying to get out. Instead she stands aside and tries to get a glimpse of two very different foxes.
Arrin: He tries to gaze above the crowd for Holst for a few moments and turns up about as much as his companion. Finally he cups his paws and does his best to shout over the din. â€œHolstadt!â€
Chris: Holst perks his ears for a moment, but dismisses it. He had already told himself that they would not be waiting for him.
Suddenly he glimpses a ferret looking out of place. He swivels his head and sees Soq. His heart jumps as he yells out their names. â€œSoq, Joz!â€
Catamount: The ferret’s ears perk up as she hears her name through the din. She scans in that general direction for a moment and then spots an only vaguely familiar fox. …is that Holst?
Arrin: Soquan’s ears perk up and he scans over the crowd again. Spotting the fox, he grins broadly and waves an arm over his head. â€œHolst!â€
Chris: Holst trots over, stopping a pace away from the two. Without thinking, he reaches out both arms and hugs Joz.
Catamount: The ferret, relieved to see their traveling companion again, hugs back, though she almost instantly realizes how weird that is. Before the three parted ways in the prison cell she never would have expected a hug from Holst.
Arrin: Soquan takes a few steps over towards the two and reaches out, clapping the fox heartily on the back. â€œGood to see you around, Holst.â€
Chris: Holst pulls out of the hug and reaches out a paw to offer a handshake to the otter, his bare forearm displaying a winged-cross tattoo.
Arrin: The otter notes the tattoo before grasping the fox’s paw and giving it a shake. â€œNice tattoo.â€
Catamount: The ferret eyes the tattoo a moment but returns her attention to trying to find another fox. Again she scans the crowd.
Chris: Holst’s eyes dart to Joz and Soq. He instinctively hides his forearm against his stomach though he couldn’t hide his nervousness. He merely nods.
Arrin: Soquan scans the area as well. â€œHow are we gonna do this from here?â€
Catamount: Jozra notices Holst’s nervousness and is puzzled. It’s almost like he thinks she should know something about the tattoo. But she has more pressing concerns. â€œI’m not sure…â€
Chris: Holst, still keeping his forearm to his belly, tries to see what they’re looking at. â€œWho are we looking for?â€
Catamount: Jozra bites her lip. â€œWe met an old friend of mine outside, he said another was in here. His name is Azrun. He…â€ How much to tell? â€œ…he’s a short fox. He might’ve looked like a child to you if you saw him.â€
Chris: Holst thinks a moment, shrugging with finality. â€œNo clue, children were kept separate from… us.â€
Catamount: Jozra’s brow furrows. This might present a problem, or it could make finding the archer fox easier. â€œDo you know where?â€
Chris: Holst nods. â€œNortheast corner.â€
Arrin: Soquan looks in that direction,Â squaring his shoulders a bit. â€œI’ll go.â€
Catamount: Jozra eyes Soquan, a little puzzled. Even if the otter knows Azrun’s name, Azrun doesn’t know Soquan. Scanning the seething mob once again and hearing Zander’s voice off in the distance, Jozra turns back to their reunited group. â€œI think we should all go. If we get separated again it might be hard to find each other.â€
Chris: Holst grins. â€œAfter all that time in there I’m not letting you two out of my sight.â€
Arrin: The otter nods. â€œAlright then.â€ He pauses as he looks at the other buildings in the compound. â€œWe should do a good sweep of the place, make sure there’s no beasts stuck inside.â€
Catamount: The ferret nods. â€œAzrun first, though. He’ll help us.â€
Arrin: He nods yet again. â€œLet’s go then, this chaos wonâ€™t last forever, we need to be quick.â€